The latest smear campaigns have caused me to reflect on events of the past six years. The memories that first come to the surface are dominated by the people I have met, one of whom is the undeserving target of the latest round of false accusations and mudslinging.
I met Tom Witts in 2009. At the time I was a member of the Snellville Planning Commission and at the end of one of our meetings, he introduced himself and said he was running for a City Council position. At the time, I didn’t think much about it, however, I was impressed that he took the initiative to introduce himself and simply say he was running for office. It was especially impressive considering that the members of the then-current City Council (aside from the ones I knew previously) had never even bothered to say hello
Later that year, Tom won the election, and during the next two years, I observed the manner in which he operated as a City Council member. What I saw was a person who was dedicated to the city and doing everything possible to serve its citizens. He didn’t operate from arms length, he immersed himself wherever necessary to help accomplish the task at hand. I remember several Planning Commission work sessions and meetings when he was the only Council member in attendance. He participated in some of the discussions, but he spent most of the time listening.
In 2011, I was fortunate enough to join Tom as a member of the City Council. Had it not been for the example he set, I never would have run for office. He clearly demonstrated that one person can make a difference, a positive difference, and I wanted to participate in making that difference.
So it was with not only with sadness, but with outrage that I learned about the recent smear campaign launched against Tom as he seeks election for mayor. This campaign is the work of the same pathetic group of people who have nothing good to say about themselves or our city. Their stock-in-trade is negativity. They revel in false accusations, fabricated claims and outright lies. They yearn for power and want to “take the city back”, not to serve others, but to serve themselves.
Their most recent activities include a formal complaint filed by Jarret Blankenship, authored by Warren Auld and undoubtedly financed by a third party, challenging the qualification of Tom Witts to run for office. That complaint is based on a tax issue that was fully disclosed years ago. Their purpose in filing the new complaint was clearly political. Their intent was not to question but to smear.
Some people are undoubtedly unable, or unwilling to distinguish between a political smear and a legitimate concern. They will readily consume whatever Kool-Aid is served and come back to ask for another glass. However, in speaking one-on-one with many Snellville residents, I know that a majority of them are not blinded by the smear, but see through it. They recognize the truth, and the positive results it will ultimately create.